ADVA is leading a research project aimed at significantly expanding the capacity of optical metro and core networks. Funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the OptiCON project is exploring technologies that will enable fiber infrastructure to carry ten times more throughput than today. With internet traffic growing on an exponential scale, the project will be key to the expansion of mobile applications at and beyond 5G and the digital transformation of all areas of life. OptiCON’s goals include leveraging unused optical spectrum, new fiber types, novel transmission schemes, as well as advanced monitoring and SDN control.
“This project couldn’t be more vital. With optical transmission approaching the Shannon Limit and continual increases in per-channel speeds slowly coming to an end, we’re looking at disruptive ways to expand network capacity in the future. By using untapped spectrum, we can maximize the value of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) networks and tackle soaring data demand from cloud, video and mobile,” said Annika Dochhan, principal engineer, advanced technology, ADVA and OptiCON project lead. “OptiCON is about engineering the next-generation of transport networks and empowering operators to keep pace with the exponential traffic growth they are facing. It builds on everything we’ve achieved with our FSP 3000 open line system (OLS) and TeraFlex™ terminal technology, which ensures lowest cost per bit for any network. Now with OptiCON we’re taking fiber transmission to the next level.”
Until now, DWDM transport has been mostly limited to the C-and L-bands of the optical spectrum. By working to overcome longstanding technical and economic hurdles, OptiCON is enabling operators to exploit much more of the available fiber bandwidth and therefore carry more bits per second. This will be achieved through a combination of technical innovations, including advanced amplifiers, improved fibers, novel transceivers, and new techniques for monitoring and control. The three-year ADVA-led project involves the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, highstreet technologies, the Technical University of Munich and VPIphotonics.
“Our work in OptiCON is focused on the physical layer and developing optical telemetry. This is crucial to enabling the fine-grained data signal adjustments needed for full capacity optimization,” commented Ronald Freund, head of photonic networks and systems, Fraunhofer HHI. “As a leading research institute for optical transport technology, we have a key role to play in developing the digital society. Working with ADVA and the other partners at the center of this cutting-edge project is very exciting. Together we’re developing the technology that will form the building blocks of tomorrow’s networks.”